Granada East Ham
281 Barking Road,
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Built on the site of the East Ham Empire Kinema (1914) which was demolished to build this new Granada Theatre. It was going to be a new cinema for the Denman (London) circuit (part of Gaumont British) who had operated the Empire Kinema, but Granada Theatres were also interested in the site and a deal was struck for them to operate the new cinema which was designed by Gaumont’s house architect William E. Trent and the land was owned by Gaumont for many years.
It was the fourth largest Granada Theatre to open and was fully equipped to stage shows as well as films. It opened on 30th November 1936 with Sydney Howard in “Fame” and Al Jolson in “The Singing Kid”. Seating was provided in stalls and balcony and the interior decoration was by Granada Theatre’s interior designer Theodore Komisarjevsky.
It was closed by bomb damage on 29th July 1944 and remained closed for three months. The building was fully acquired by Granada in March 1965.
From 9th June 1974 it went on limited opening hours by closing on Mondays and Tuesdays and final closure as a full time cinema came on 9th November 1974 with David Essex in “That’ll Be the Day” and Marc Bolan in “Born to Boogie”.
Occasional live shows were presented and Bollywood films were shown on Sundays for just over a year, until it was converted into a Granada Bingo Club from 16th January 1976. Since May 1991 it has been operated as a Gala Bingo Club.
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